The Potential of Plant Essential Oils as Biofumigant Agains Fungal Pathogens of Postharvest Tomato
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However recognized as more sustainable and safer way for crop production, organic agriculture is still facing many technical difficulties. One of the problems is concerning the management of posthavest disease caused by fungal pathogens. Since the applications of synthetic fungicides are prohibited, thus organically produced crops are more vulnerable to be attacked by pathogens. Therefore, the development of novel, reliable and more compliant technologies for diseases management are required. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the potential use of plant essential oils as biofumigant to control of fungal diseases of tomato during storage. We selected three essential oils, including clove oil, cinnamon oil and ajowan oil, for this study. The in vitro test for antifungal activity showed that the volatile headspace of the three oils exhibited potent effect on the test pathogens which includes Botrytis cinerea, Fusaruim oxysporum and Aspergillus niger. Then ajowan oil, which showed highest inhibitory effect, was further evaluated for its effectiveness when applied as biofumigant. Results from the experiment indicated that fumigation with ajowan oil can reduce the occurrence gray mold decay of tomato (caused by B. cinerea) significantly. The rate of control was up to 100 % during fifteen days of storage at 20 ºC. These results support the idea of using the essential oil as biofumigant for protection of postharvest tomato from fungal diseases. However, further comprehensive studies are still required especially on the issues concerning the reliability and eco-efficiency of this method at trial and commercial level.